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Russian regulator fines Google after Yandex complaint

There is further good news for the Russian search engine giant Yandex in its ongoing battle with Google. In its latest decision, the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) has ruled against Google, fining the company 438 million rubles (€6.05 million/£5.29 m/$6.75 m) for anti-competition practices.

The fine relates to an ongoing dispute between the two rival search engine companies Yandex and Google. It is a case that Android Wafer has reported on previously and is centred around the preinstalled services that are available on Android smartphones and tablets.

Google requires hardware manufacturers to install its own services on devices, and place them prominently on the first home screen.

Following a ruling by the FAS last year, Yandex has been able to agree its own deals with manufacturers, allowing the Russian company to distribute its services on Android devices.

The FAS decision permits Google to maintain its position on the primary home screen, but Yandex is able to place its services on the second or third home screen.

However, Google has an appeal hearing scheduled for 16 August. The search engine giant is disputing the conditions that the FAS put in place for distribution of its services on devices.

Google is likely far more concerned about the requirements it is able to place on hardware manufacturers with regards to its services than it is about the more recent FAS fine.

A spokesperson for the FAS said the fine was based on the revenue recorded by Google Play in 2014. The fine is between one and 15 percent of this revenue, although the FAS has not released any more precise details.

For a company the size of Google, the fine is a relatively small amount of money. However, the ability to distribute its services widely is arguably the main reason for Google’s backing of Android, so this issue is likely to be more strongly contested by the US company.

By having its services available prominently on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Google is able to gain huge market share. And then there is the obvious potential to convert service users into paying customers.

Google has said that it will closely analyse the FAS’ ruling on the fine, before deciding whether to take any further action.

[via Bloomberg]